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The transport sector agreement finalised, and Green List changes confirmed

The Minister of Immigration and Transport finalises the transport sector agreement and adds occupations to the Green List.

Transport sector agreement details confirmed

In December 2022, the Minister of Immigration and Transport announced a transport sector agreement with a 2-year work-to-residence pathway for truck and bus drivers and later announced that this would be extended to include critical maritime transport roles. This was intended to support critical national infrastructure (public transport, waste collection and supply chains) as the industries work towards improved pay and conditions and increased training of New Zealanders.

Median wage exemption for bus drivers

Employers will have a median wage exemption set at $28 an hour when hiring bus drivers for an eligible role on an Accredited Employer Work Visa. This exemption takes effect immediately.

To be eligible for the exemption, the role must either:

· be for an employer who has signed the All-Parties Memorandum of Understanding on Improving Bus Driver Pay and Conditions, or

· be a school bus driver on a Ministry of Education-funded school bus service.

This is intended to focus the sector agreement on our most critical public transport needs while requiring that operators are committed to improving pay and conditions.

Bus drivers hired under the sector agreement will be eligible for Accredited Employer Work Visas (AEWV) for 3 years, despite being paid below the median wage. This will ensure that they have enough time to complete their 2 years of work in New Zealand required to apply for residence.

Other roles covered by the transport sector agreement are not exempt from the median wage threshold, as the market rate for skilled workers in these roles is already above the median wage.

Transport sector agreement residence applications open later this year

Under the sector agreement the following professions will have a 2-year work to residence pathway:

  • bus drivers working for an eligible employer in an eligible role (as set out above)

  • truck drivers primarily drive vehicles that require a class 4 or 5 licence.

  • ship’s masters (skippers) — must hold Skipper Restricted Limits for 500GT endorsement, or higher qualification by the time they apply for residence.

  • deck hands — must hold Qualified Deck Crew or higher qualification by the time they apply for residence.

All roles covered by the sector agreement will be able to apply for residence from 29 September 2023 if they have completed the 2 years of work requirement.

Duration of transport sector agreement

The agreement is uncapped and will be reviewed after 12 months. Any changes made to the sector agreement after this review will not affect migrants already on their 2-year work-to-residence pathway.

Eligible migrant workers will be able to apply for residence from 29 September 2023 if they have worked in a Green List occupation and met the specified requirements of that occupation for 24 months.

Updates to the Green List will be made on 29 May 2023.

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